Articles | January 23, 2024

Discover the Best Application Management Support Models 

How to improve the efficiency of your business applications and achieve better results? Discover the best support models for your business and overcome challenges such as application complexity, outdated technology, and system availability and performance.

application management

Today, over half of the average IT budget is spent on maintaining existing tech solutions. The costs of managing software applications are continually rising, and maintenance specialists, especially those who monitor the system 24 hours a day, are not always on hand. If you own a business application, you are probably struggling with issues such as app complexity, legacy technology, system availability and performance.

How can we overcome these challenges, improve the effectiveness of business applications, and achieve better results? In the article we will guide you through the aspects of Application Management Services (AMS), explaining the support models that will best fit your business. Let’s get to it!  

Understanding Application Management 

In 2024, IT spending will increase by 8%, reaching a dizzying sum of over $5 trillion, according to Gartner. And while we’re used to thinking about expenses on application development, cloud migration, or innovations, it’s worth remembering that nearly 50% of budgets globally are allocated to maintaining existing software solutions. Understanding that maintenance services are a value driver for your business will help you better allocate your money.  

We will also delve into best practices in systems management and hint at the benefits of using the managed services of external service providers.  

What is application management and its role in an organization? 

In the simplest terms, Application Management Services involve entrusting third-party experts with the responsibility for monitoring system performance, identifying risks that may arise, and maintaining work on the business system.

The goal of AMS is to keep the system up and running, minimize downtime, identify bugs, and ultimately improve application performance. 

AMS providers also handle system upgrades, security patches, and performance enhancements to ensure the business system operates smoothly and efficiently. By outsourcing these responsibilities, you can focus on your core operations as a business owner. This allows for cost savings, improved productivity, and a more optimized and secure system.  

What is application lifecycle management?  

As per Microsoft’s definition,

“ALM is the lifecycle management of applications, which includes governance, development, and maintenance”. 

The cyclical software development process encompasses the following phases: planning and tracking, development, building and testing, deployment, operating, monitoring, and learning from discovery. 

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  • During the planning and tracking phase, the project requirements are defined, and tasks are scheduled and assigned. 
  • Development involves writing code, designing the user interface, and creating other necessary components. 
  • The building and testing phase focuses on compiling code, integrating components, and conducting various tests to ensure quality and functionality. 
  • Deployment involves releasing the application to the production environment, and operating involves managing and maintaining the application’s performance and availability. Monitoring entails tracking the application’s usage, performance, and potential issues. 
  • Finally, learning from discovery consists in gathering and analyzing feedback from users and stakeholders to make the necessary improvements and updates. 

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Implementing the Application Management process – the 5 phases 

  1. Pre-Engagement – this phase includes sending RFI / RFP. It usually takes 2-4 weeks to complete. 
  2. Plan & Define – this step includes due diligence, initial assessment, understanding and documenting the scope of work as well as service team design, understanding and documenting key parameters for knowledge transfers and feasibility studies.
  3. Transition – once the objectives are established and accepted in the planning phase, the transition phase begins, which consists of three stages: shadowing, reverse shadowing and preparing a final report on a contingency plan, and service activation. This phase lasts from one to two months. 
  4. Stabilize – an assigned team is 100% operational and begins to fulfill obligations under the agreed SLA (system monitoring, handling incidents, and undertaking corrective actions). 
  5. Optimize & Innovate – AMS services do not end with the takeover and stabilization of the system. A reliable service provider will allow you to achieve added value and therefore improve system performance through innovative solutions (e.g., employing AI and cloud capabilities in application management).  
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Application Management Support Models – which to choose 

A Dedicated Team 

In this support model, the AMS team focuses on supporting only one project or customer, so you can rest assured that they will be fully devoted to your project. Such an AMS team specializes in the maintenance of the specific product and is an expert in the field due to its experience. 

When to use a dedicated team as a support model?  

  • You need a team with specific domain expertise to maintain your product (e.g., telco, healthcare, finance etc.). 
  • You require support for specific technologies and need the expertise of specialists who have already maintained a similar product and know its specifics. 
  • You need full team involvement in your project and comprehensive support. 

Use case #1 – telecom industry 

One of the leading telecom companies needed support for the maintenance and development of their legacy applications. Due to our high level of expertise in BSS solutions for telco, on-site capabilities, local presence, and software development expertise, Inetum has been involved in the biggest outsourcing program in the region. Within 5 months, we took over 30 systems out of 100 in the client’s portfolio. Our Java, .NET, Oracle, and BI specialists brought tangible benefits which made it possible to lower OPEX and CAPEX rates for the application portfolio. 

Use case #2 – telecom industry  

Inetum cooperates with a telecom company in the scope of the development and maintenance of their radio network configuration management system (RAN). The client needed quick access to an AMS team that would provide technical support to customers, ensuring the continuity of application operations, by undertaking maintenance actions. Our JAVA, R, & .NET experts took over the responsibility of maintaining and developing 13 applications by analyzing logs and monitoring performance. The client appreciated the speed of our response to failures and problems. Our actions allowed the client to minimize downtimes and lower costs.  

Shared Support Team 

Such a team focuses on many clients or projects. It can be more general and flexible regarding different products or industries. Domain knowledge is important, but it doesn’t play a key role like it does with a dedicated team. For this reason, the AMS team has broader knowledge from a wide variety of projects for various clients throughout other industries.   

When to use a shared team as a support model 

  • You have a certain amount of flexibility and do not need a team that would be fully dedicated to your project.  
  • Niche domain/industry knowledge is not a major decisive factor when choosing an AMS provider.  
  • A shared team model allows for money-saving since the team members work on incidents and can switch swiftly between tasks. 

Use case – automotive industry  

For a German client, a leader in the automotive industry, we provided system support services for after-sales product and service information management. Our team of Java and Angular developers boasted extensive automotive domain knowledge from other IT projects, which allowed us to design the architecture and the entire implementation process, including integration with other client’s systems. Our services made it possible to automate verification of compliance of the offers presented to the end-clients with the versions presented on the automotive supplier’s website.  

DevOps & Agile  

In this model, the same team is responsible for development and maintenance and the entire focus is on your project.   

 When to use a DevOps & Agile team as a support model  

  • You have a legacy application, and you want to modernize or optimize it (rewrite to new technologies, use a different programming language, migrate to the cloud, or use microservices).  
  • You have a new application developed by the provider’s programmers, and you want to have it maintained as part of the AMS services of the same provider.  
  • You need a highly flexible approach to maintenance services and optimization actions. 
  • You value collaboration with development teams in the Agile mindset. 

Use case – pharma industry   

Inetum specialists were involved in the development and maintenance of a data warehouse and BI systems project for a company in the pharmaceutical industry. Knowledge of the pharma industry and previous cooperation with the client were important factors that led the client to entrust us with maintenance and development services. The project involved the complex maintenance of regional business intelligence solutions for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. 

The client highlighted our software development expertise in the context of Oracle, Informatica PowerCenter, SAP Business Objects, Tableau, AWS, Redshift, dbt, Java, and JavaScript technologies.  

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Business Benefits of Using Application Management Services 

Access to expertise within as little as 1 month 

Within 1 month of signing the contract, our JAVA, .NET, Angular or React developers undertake their first tasks in your IT project. The time it takes to build a ready-to-work team depends on the complexity of the project and the client’s needs. Usually, it takes between 2 weeks and 2 months to set up a team. In our experience, this phase will not exceed the mentioned timeframe.  

Round-the-clock support 

At Inetum we provide support models according to customer-defined Service Level Agreements (SLAs), keeping systems running optimally. If you decide that the application is to be monitored around the clock, as a business owner you can rest assured that any downtimes are limited. Our team will work proactively to prevent any potential issues, and in the rare event of a system failure, we will have a team of experts available to quickly address and resolve it. 

Access to the expertise of numerous professionals  

Companies providing maintenance services such as Inetum ensure competencies as part of a global group, bringing together over 28,000 specialists. This way, you can fill the gap left by any missing specialist instantly. Inetum AMS brings a proven set of skills and expertise to help keep a company’s applications running optimally. 

Continuity of service  

Thanks to proper transfer planning, continuity of service is assured, minimizing the risk of information loss when transitioning from the previous maintenance team, be it your in-house team or an external one. Proper transfer planning involves the thorough documentation of all maintenance activities, including equipment history, maintenance schedules, and procedures. This ensures that the new maintenance team has all the necessary information to continue service without interruption. 

Minimized downtime 

A team of Application Management Services specialists is adept at promptly diagnosing and resolving issues. By carefully planning change management processes, they reduce the risk of system failures and downtime associated with system changes.  

A cost-effective solution 

Outsourcing application management services allows you to save money on hiring and training specialized personnel. Moreover, you optimize spending on technology. The data and insights provided by reporting and monitoring processes inform decision-making, helping to guide system development and improvement.  

Predictable maintenance 

The preparation of a maintenance schedule provides predictability, allowing you to plan maintenance activities and minimize disruption.  By having a maintenance schedule in place, you can anticipate when equipment or facilities will be out of service for maintenance and plan for alternative solutions to mitigate any potential disruptions. This proactive approach helps to identify and resolve any potential issues before they become major problems, thus reducing unexpected downtime and minimizing the impact on operations. 

Robust data security and disaster recovery  

You can take advantage of robust data security measures, preventing data breaches and cyberattacks. Your partner’s team is committed to data protection, safeguarding clients’ valuable information, and maintaining their trust. Furthermore, you gain access to solutions to help you recover quickly and maintain business continuity in the event of a disaster.   

Improved system performance  

Application Management Services ensure better system performance, allowing clients’ teams to work more efficiently. By optimizing system performance, AMS teams help boost productivity and streamline operations, ultimately leading to cost savings and better business outcomes. 

Overall, Application Management Services are essential to ensuring the smooth and efficient operation of an organization’s systems and applications and thereby achieving better business outcomes.  

What are the best practices for enterprise application management? 

Effective application management has an impact on how a business functions, both in terms of deploying a new application and maintaining existing applications throughout their lifecycle. However, it’s also worth remembering that application management is a set of best practices, related to outlining the right strategy, taking care of security and data recovery, using the right tools for system monitoring, ensuring excellent communication, and working together with users. Only then will it be beneficial to your organization. 

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Leszek Jaros, our Head of Telco and AMS Practice, is here to help you navigate the complexities of Application Maintenance Services. Book a consultation to boost your application's efficiency

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